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Old Main bell tower.

Penn State Learning honors outstanding Guided Study Group Leaders

13 June 2022

Penn State Learning announced Abby Han and Elizabeth Powderly as the recipients of the Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Award for the spring 2022 semester. Each received a certificate of recognition and a stipend of $500. 

The purpose of the award is to recognize study group leaders’ commitment to creating and sustaining a welcoming and academically supportive learning community for their assigned course. Working closely with course instructors and routinely attending class sessions, study group leaders host drop-in study sessions in which they review course materials and help students hone their problem-solving skills in a stimulating and challenging, collaborative learning environment. Both of this semester’s recipients exemplify the award criteria, as noted in the following comments from their nominators. 

Abby Han outside Old Main

Abby Han has shown exemplary skill in leading ECON 102 study groups for two semesters. She had multiple nominators for the award, and all described her willingness to go above and beyond program expectations for the students’ benefit. Jadrian Wooten, an associate professor of economics who taught ECON 102, described Han as consistently working on “new and creative ways to help students learn underlying concepts ... [such as] creating new activities for the students.”  

Brendaly Drayton, scholar in residence for learning communities at Penn State Learning, mentioned Han’s willingness to “apply facilitation and learning strategies from training that promote engagement and collaborative learning,” particularly as Guided Study Groups (GSG) transitioned between in-person and hybrid sessions. Her commitment to students was evident in their many positive comments, such as: “Abby’s help really made a huge difference and I recommend her to other students,” and “I struggled with this class in the beginning, but Abby’s guided study groups have been beyond helpful.”  

Han is a second-year student pursuing a degree in mathematics and statistics. 

Elizabeth Powderly

Elizabeth Powderly has led STAT 200 study groups for four semesters, demonstrating leadership and dedication to students. Jennifer Shook, lecturer of statistics and STAT 200 instructor, discussed Powderly’s connection with students in her groups, describing how “[the students] know she cares about them as individuals and their continued attendance at her sessions shows they value what she prepares to share with them.” Shook also noted Powderly’s commitment to excellence in her groups, as she was “always looking for ways to improve an already impressive repertoire of presentations and worksheets during her sessions.”  

Shannon Frey, program coordinator for GSG, described how Powderly went above and beyond expectations to create community in her groups and with other leaders, providing encouragement and support. Comments from students reflected their appreciation of her GSGs and her empathy along with her statistics knowledge.  

Powderly is a graduating senior with a degree in biology and a minor in information systems and statistical analysis. In August, she will begin a full-time job as a health care consultant working on creating software for regional hospitals in Los Angeles.  

Penn State Learning congratulates these outstanding GSG leaders. 

The Guided Study Group Leader Award is made possible by gifts from Penn State Learning supporters. Additional information about the awards process and other ways to give to Penn State Learning is available at In addition to providing no-charge guided study groups supporting a wide range of courses, Penn State Learning also provides tutoring in mathematics, world languages, public speaking and writing.  

Penn State Learning is part of Undergraduate Education.