We are excited to announce the creation of our first graduate assistantship within the VAR Lab! Being able to provide graduate students working within the VAR Lab with assistantships is a huge milestone for the lab and it’s goal of providing enriching experiences to student workers while also ensuring they are fairly compensated for their valuable work (through a stiped and complete tuition remission). 


The assistantship was made possible through a partnership between VAR Lab and it’s director, Dr. Christopher Shelton and one of VAR Lab’s closest University Park partners, Teaching and Learning with Technology. There is significant synergy between VAR Lab initiatives and the mission of Teaching and Learning with Technology. Further, given VAR Lab’s local presence at Behrend (one of the Commonwealth Campuses), we are well situated to help pilot new initiatives and help to create the work flows necessary for replication at other Penn State Commonwealth Campuses. 


The first VAR Lab assistantship, starting in the Spring 2023 semester, was awarded to Marcus Jacobs (see bio below) and will enable Marcus to continue driving the Lab’s mission forward, while also demonstrating the Lab’s ability to network, collaborate, and pull in resources that benefit the Behrend college. 


Marcus Jacobs has been working as a project manager with the VAR Lab since the Fall of 2020. After completing his undergraduate degrees in May 2022, Marcus decided to pursue a Master of Project Management (link: Master of Project Management Online – Penn State World Campus (psu.edu)) degree. Although the program is technically a Penn State World Campus program, it is administered by Penn State Behrend faculty, allowing Marcus to remain a Behrend student. 

While pursuing his MPM, Marcus continued to work as a Project Manager with the VAR Lab.  


Marcus will remain Behrend-based and will work to promote and facilitate VAR Lab and TLT initiatives locally.